Uncertainty about which games will be popular is a huge problem for esports
“Who knew football was going to be popular?” asked Malph Minns.
It’s a great question, and one which allowed us to get to the heart of what ‘esports’ is earlier this year at Digital Sport London – after all, we’re not just talking about one game but many. It’s not just one ‘sport’: it’s a whole Olympic movement of them.
That is arguably the greatest challenge to integrating esports into the wider sporting landscape: because who knows what’s going to be popular in a few years’ time.
There are some staples of the gaming landscape from over the years: simulation games like EA’s FIFA series, for example. But when it comes to new titles, the sands are constantly shifting.
That makes it difficult to plan ahead. How can you add certain titles to an Olympic Games programme only to find out that four years later that game is no longer a popular title and all the best players have moved on to newer, better titles.
Like most things, public opinion will decide. The popular games will win out because professional gamers will be able to make more money from the ones most people watch. That makes it hard for current traditional leagues or teams to get involved, and it arguably means that sponsors are less likely to pour in money, too.
For the sector as a whole, though, so long as there are fans, that’s certainly a positive thing.
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